Church undemocratic on RH
I AM a devout Catholic. I agree with the opinion of our religious leaders that some contraceptives are abortifacients since they obstruct the development of fertilized human ovums. However, I am confused by the coercive approach proposed by some bishops and anti-RH bill groups, to which I belong, to have President Aquino excommunicated for his support of the RH bill, and to lead a civil disobedience campaign through non-payment of taxes should the RH bill be passed.
Are we, as the extension of the Church, truly concerned about the welfare, the lack of educational opportunities and the sufferings of the poor? Wouldn’t the poor be the first to feel the adverse impact of this course of action? The planned conditional cash transfer program, which has proved so effective in Brazil and other countries, wherein the poorest are given allowances as long as they send their children to school and visit health centers, will have to be cut back. The entire public educational system itself will have to be reduced in scope. Public health programs will also deteriorate. In other words, basic social services will be placed even farther out of the reach of our poor, resulting in a vicious cycle where more of them will be unable to get an education, or to access to health care services even as they easily get sick and become less productive, which in turn will affect the nutrition and well-being of their families.
The proposed civil disobedience campaign cannot be likened to the one waged against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos was robbing the country blind, and during his rule dissenters were jailed, tortured, disappeared, even executed. Marcos established monopolies for his personal benefit and destroyed the moral and ethical values of our institutions and our people through misgovernance, widespread bribery, and cheating in our elections.
The RH bill is a well-intentioned measure to improve the lot of our people, although some of its provisions many Catholics disagree with. Are we now like the extremists, issuing decrees against those who differ with our beliefs? Are we forgetting that a democracy functions only when there is disagreement, and the people themselves through their representatives decide, after public discussions, without coercion? Are we drifting back to our colonial past, when even a Spanish governor general was attacked in Malacañang at the instance of friars who disagreed with him?
We should always do unto others only as we would want others to do unto us. What would happen to our Church if the pro-RH bill groups decide to do likewise and stop their weekly contributions during Sunday Masses?
—BENJAMIN B. AGUNOD,
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